Comparing Google Trends for Websites and Google Analytics data

*Take a look at 2011 Edition of the comparison between data from Google Trends for Websites and Google Analytics.

Although in a moment or another any SEO consultant has checked the traffic trends for a (big enough) site, the competitors of the web you are optimising for sure, nobody trust 100% what shown at Google Trends for Websites obviously.

At Trends for Websites Help page there is information explaining how these graphs are generated and why data is not accurate but as usually at Google's universe tons of words for nothing significant.

The only way I can think to get some conclusions is compare Trends for Websites versus Google Analytics data.

How to compare stats

Look into your Analytics account for sites with traffic enough to have a whole year stats, last 12 months option, at Trends for Websites. Sometimes graphs are weird or incomplete, don't ask.

If you are logged in your Google's account stats will show Daily Unique Visitors number at Y axis.
Drag and drop graph to your computer.

Check if these sites have the same period of data at Analytics. You won't believe how many sites for big well known worldwide brands have not paid real attention to web analytics or had no stats system installed at all, specially if they are not online pure players.

At Analytics go to Visitors > Visitors trending > Absolute unique visitors, dates from 01-april-2008 to 01-april-09 or the period matching Trends, select week view and grab screen shot.

That's it. Now a bit of image work to place both side by side for an easy comparing.

The hard thing here is having enough sites with these characteristics to compare, not to betray the first principle of statistics. I have a few but I wanted to get very different business models sites from different countries to make it a bit more interesting so I asked my colleagues Ramón Eijkemans, SEO copyrighting expert, Martijn Beijk, local search wizard and Juan Cruz, online marketing consultant, for some more and here they are.

Wesite stats and graphs compared

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 1

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 2

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 3

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 4

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 5

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 6

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 7

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 8

Compare Google Trends for Websites vs. Google Analytics, site 9

Trends versus Analytics. Conclusions

No need to be Einstein to notice what happens.

  • Analytics graphs lines are softer than trends ones, more exaggerated in vertical axis. like electrified.
  • In many cases last quarter, more recent period, although at Analytics stats are nor clearly going down they do at Trends, something that web analytics expert Adrián Segovia noticed lately. Maybe, just an idea, as times go bye they become more accurate, who knows.
  • Daily Unique Visitors volume deserves some trustworthy but not in closer periods as mentioned before and of course not always.
  • Trends for Websites seems to have a reasonable amount of credibility once you can set a minimum error threshold after comparing some of them.

Now we should compare other similar services like Alexa Traffic Stats but I wanted to start with tools of the same brand (yes, it was easy).

What do you think? Do you want to share here your graphs?

Jun 16, 2009
Written by:
Filed under: Analytics

Jun 16, 2009
Posted by:
juan cruz #1

Great post Ani!

It's absolutely amazing to see how both tools, and same owner, has different results. Moreover, I think somebody from Google should participate here and explain why GA tends to show more traffic for recent period of times.



Jun 16, 2009
Posted by:
Andrés Flores #2

Hi Ani,
Do you know if choosing to share Google Analytics data with other Google Products improves the match of trends.

Did any of the sites you included in the post had GA data sharing enabled?


Jun 16, 2009
Posted by:
Ani Lopez #3

Good points Andrés
No idea if sharing GA data makes trends much closer but is quite logical.

I did not think about taking in consideration if data was shared for the sites I got the graphics. I can check in some but not all, let me see.

Thanks for drop by and comment.

Sep 25, 2009
Posted by:
Bengo #4

There's a small uproar going on in the world of online comics right now, as mentioned in this blog entry I wrote. Briefly, many major strips are claiming that although Google Trends shows long, steep declines for their sites, their Google Analytics disagree.

Some of your readers might find it interesting or want to comment, so here's the link:

Thanks for the interesting side-by-side reports. How did you get the sites to share their analytics with you (though you obviously agreed to keep them private)?

Sep 25, 2009
Posted by:
Ani Lopez #5

Thanks Bengo for your very specific article to online comics trends.

Managing a lot of Analytics accounts and keep the details private is the way I could capture and include graphs for the article.

Nov 28, 2009
Posted by:
Stilgherrian #6

I wish I'd found this post a few days ago. Ani. It would have prevented me writing at article for Crikey which used Google Trends data showing that traffic to Australia news websites was in serious decline, and then having to write another article saying I probably got it wrong.

I did request a response from Google Trends, but of course the US has been closed for the Thanksgiving long weekend.

The Google Trends forum is rather quiet. There were only three questions or comments posted for the whole of September, none of which received a reply, and nothing since. I can't see that anyone from Google has responded to anything for months and months??I gave up looking back any further.

Google Trends is a Google Labs product, i.e. an experiment. I'm starting to think that it's been abandoned and we're just seeing a slow degradation due to lack of maintenance.

Nov 29, 2009
Posted by:
Ani Lopez #7

Hi Stilgherrian
Interesting what you are saying but I don't think Trends is abandoned or in degradation, no matter if Google people say nothing in months, silence is a quite typical attitude from them.

Thanks for come and comment.

Feb 09, 2010
Posted by:
nobody #8

Maybe I am missing something, but the numbers in each of the graphs pretty much show numbers that are way way off in Google Trends. For example in the first set of graphs, one week of traffic in July for GA says the site is getting about 50,000 visitors, but Trends says that the same site is getting close to 3,500 visitors. WTF?

Feb 09, 2010
Posted by:
nobody #9

Correction to my last comment, I meant to say that Google Trends is saying that daily traffic at that time is 3500 so (3500*7 ) = 24500 weekly visitors. Still not even close to 50K visitors GA is reporting.

Sep 29, 2010
Posted by:
Houston Mover #10

As a student I was poor at graphs and all..How would such a person be able to be an SEO specialist?

Aug 18, 2011
Posted by:
Jason #11

Hi Ani,

Have you found any more recent ways to match the data. As with everything Google, there's no hard data, what appears to only be general numbers and percentages.

My concern with using Analytics at this time is having the consistency to get an accurate read-out as the site has to maintain it's position for the entire time of measurement. With the most recent CTR rates tests, as seen here- - just moving a position or two in the SERPs could dramatically alter the percentage of actual traffic and therefore skew the trend comparison.

Just my thoughts, let me know if you have seen any updated methods for comparing or any new tools that would help.


Nov 14, 2014
Posted by:
Leo #12

Hey Ani!

Any updates for 2014? :)

Nov 14, 2014
Posted by:
Ani Lopez #13

Leo, Google Trends for Websites is gone.
No way we can compare any more :(

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